Children's Literature - Michelle H. Martin
When Julian's neighbor and best friend, Gloria, gets a new bicycle, he feigns disinterest instead of admitting to her and to his parents that he is terrified of falling off. Instead, he lies to Gloria, telling her that his father is making him work "all day and all night" all summer, leaving no time for him to learn to ride. Unfortunately, Julian's father learns of the lie, which prompts Julian to dig himself in deeper and actually commit to working for his father every day of summer. Exhausted and sore from all of the chores, Julian finally admits to his mother that he dislikes bikes because of the possibility of falling off while learning to ride. When Julian's father runs out of chores for him, he rewards him with $10 . . . and a new bike. Now Julian must tell the truth and face his worst fears, although Gloria assures him that she will still be his best friend even if he decides to return the bike to the store. Ann Cameron's entertaining text coupled with Leder's whimsical pencil sketches make this continuing story of Julian worth reading, although Robert Papp's new cover illustrations are inconsistent with Leder's artwork inside the book. Early readers will enjoy the humor that results from Julian's attempts always to appear brave and knowledgeable.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4 Children are in for a treat with these two books. In The Chalk Box Kid, Gregory is dealing with several problems. His family has to move after his father has lost his job, and his unliked Uncle Max moves in with them and shares Gregory's room. Bulla has done an excellent job of making this story upbeat and interesting, and of bringing Gregory's hard-working blue-collar family to life. Gregory reacts to his upsets by drawing a fantastic garden out of chalk on the walls of an abandoned building. His imagination and artistic talents help him immediately, and later, when admired by others, help him to gain a better self image and work out his problems. Readers are sure to sympathize with Gregory and the changes in his life. Teachers are portrayed as compassionate and interested in their students' welfare. Outstanding characterization plus a poignant story make this a particularly strong selection. Cameron has captured the same atmosphere in Julian's Glorious Summer as she did in The Stories Julian Tells (Pantheon, 1981). Julian is pleased that summer has arriveduntil his best friend Gloria rides by on a new bicycle. His fear of falling prohibits him from learning to ride, and he doesn't want Gloria to know. Cameron has done an excellent job of portraying children's fears and their desire to hide them. In both stories, the authors have dealt effectively and positively with children in difficult situations, but who have the support of caring adults. Two superb choices for readers going from easy readers to chapter books. Zenata W. Pierre, Portland Public Schools, Oreg.
From the Publisher
"Librarians wanting stories with black protagonists will especially welcome this."Booklist.
"When his best friend, Gloria, gets a new bike, Julian (7) is dismayed: he doesn't want to learn to ride, because he's afraid of falling. In a satisfying conclusion, Julian gets his own bike as a reward for considerable labor, and then learns what fun it can be to ride. This is a perfectly constructed young reader, with neat turns in the plot, a loving family, and engaging dialogue."(pointer) Kirkus.
“Cameron has done an excellent job of portraying children’s fears and their desire to hide them. . . . [A] superb choice for readers going from easy readers to chapter books.”–School Library Journal